2017-18 Miami Heat Predictions and NBA Futures Odds Picks
Last season for the Miami Heat was, in a word, weird. In the first half of the season they were a dismal 11-30, and they seemed determined to outdo Brooklyn for the first overall pick. In the second half, though, they went 30-11 and were one of the better teams in the entire league. It was a truly bizarre reversal. Management was left with the tough task of figuring out which team was closer to reality and what to do as a result. They had cap space to play with and tried to make a big play for Gordon Hayward and other top free agents, but they struck out. Instead they added a couple of pieces but focused instead on keeping their core intact. Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson and James Johnson were all locked in, and the team is committed mostly to the core they had. It's an odd approach - when other teams have invested heavily in stars, Miami has instead paid role players well and hoped they can combine to be more than the sum of their parts. They missed the playoffs by one spot last year at 41-41. Can they climb back up into the postseason?
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2017 Miami Heat Betting Storylines
Dion Waiters and Goran Dragic were just a spectacular backcourt in the second half of the season. They both seemed like they couldn't miss from beyond the arc in the second half, and the increase in three-point efficiency was the biggest reason that the team succeeded. Both guys performed well above the levels we have grown to expect from them over their careers. Now we are left with a tough question. Did the two players find something new in themselves, develop extra comfort and chemistry with each other, and elevate their level of play? In other words, is this the new sustainable reality for them? Or did they just get hot at the same time and perform at a level beyond what is reasonable for the long term? Are we due for a regression from both of them? This is the 10th year in the league for Dragic and the sixth for Waiters, so it is tougher to believe they can sustain their level of play than it would be if they were younger.
Justise Winslow is an interesting case for the Heat. He's only two years in and missed much of last year, but so far he has not turned into what they hoped he would be when they drafted him. He didn't play a game in 2017 last season, so he was on the sidelines for all of the turnaround. He was averaging almost 35 minutes per game when he was playing, so you can't help but note how much better the team was without him. Part of that was his shooting. He was a dismal shooter overall but particularly bad beyond the arc where he hit on just 20 percent of attempts. His usage and level of play will be very interesting to watch, and you have to imagine that he will be on a short leash.
There are some teams that are really likeable - that you would love to go for a beer with after a game. The Heat are not one of those teams. So many of these guys on this roster have had attitude issues with this or other teams, and many have played with more teams than you would expect them to have given their talent level. The team has invested heavily in this group and doesn't have a whole lot of flexibility left, so they are going to have to hope that what they have works well for them, and that's a big risk.
2017 Miami Heat Additions and Departures
There weren't a whole lot of changes on this team. Kelly Olynyk joins from the Celtics with another sizeable deal that eats up cap space. He is a huge upgrade over Josh McRoberts, who was traded to Dallas for big man A.J. Hammons. In the draft they added big man Bam Adebayo out of Kentucky. And in terms of impact moves, that is pretty much it.
2017 Miami Heat Futures Odds and Trends
Miami Heat Futures Odds
NBA title odds ( from BetOnline ) : +10000
Eastern Conference title odds : +2500
Hassan Whiteside MVP Odds ( from Bovada ) : +25000
Bam Adebayo ROY Odds : +5000
Season win total (from BetOnline): 42.5 ("over" is favored at -145)
There were serious profits to be had betting on this team last year - they were a very strong 48-33-1 ATS. They went over the total 38 times and "under" 44, so the profits were far less impressive there.
2017 Miami Heat Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
This is a deep team. When you say that, though, you have to think of what it means. They can easily go two or three deep in most positions because the gap between the starter and the backups isn't significant. That means that they are a team without superstars. And that could be a problem. The upside is here, and this team could easily finish fifth in the East - or even fourth, I guess. But I don't trust the personalities involved and am skeptical that they can perform at a consistent level. I am really not bullish on this team, though the floor I see for them isn't that low. I expect them to finish somewhere between sixth and 10th in the conference, and I don't see any betting value in them at this point.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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